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Pain Management Task Force Draft Report

As required by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA), the public has an opportunity to provide comments on the Draft Report on Pain Management Best Practices: Updates, Gaps, Inconsistencies, and Recommendations (Draft Report) during this 90 day public comment period.  

The Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force developed the Draft Report which identified gaps or inconsistencies, and proposed updates to best practices and recommendations for pain management, including chronic and acute pain as required by CARA.

To View Draft Report Click HERE:

Draft Report on Pain Management Best Practices: Updates, Gaps, Inconsistencies, and Recommendations management, patient advocacy, substance use disorders, mental health, and minority health. 

This draft report describes preliminary recommendations of the Task Force that will be finalized and submitted to Congress in 2019, following a 90-day public comment period. Initial key concepts:

• Balanced pain management should be based on a biopsychosocial model of care.

• Individualized, patient-centered care is vital to addressing the public health pain crisis.

• Ensure better and safer opioid stewardship through risk assessment based on patients’ medical, social, and family history to ensure safe and appropriate prescribing.

• Multidisciplinary approach to chronic pain that focuses on the patient’s medical condition, co-morbidities, and various aspects of care including:

  • Medications. Different classes depending on patient medical conditions and history.
  • Restorative movement therapies. Physical and occupational therapy, massage therapy, aqua therapy. Interventional procedures. Different types of minimally invasive procedures can be important for both acute and chronic pain.
  • Complementary and integrative health. Acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, meditation.
  • Behavioral health/psychological interventions. Coping skills, cognitive behavioral therapy.

• Multi-modal approach to acute pain in the surgical, injury, burn and trauma setting.

• Perioperative surgical home and acute pain guidelines to provide a framework for improved patient experience and outcomes.

• Addressing drug shortages that might affect acute and chronic pain care.

• Access to care is vital through improved health care coverage for various treatment modalities and an enlarged workforce of pain specialists and behavioral health clinicians to help guide and support appropriately trained primary care clinicians.

• Stigma is a major barrier to treatment, so it is important to provide empathy and a non-judgmental approach to improve treatment and outcomes.

• Education through societal awareness, provider education and training, and patient education are needed to understand choices and promote therapeutic alliances between patients and providers.

• Innovative solutions to pain management such as telemedicine, tele-mentoring, mobile apps for behavioral and psychological skills, newer medicines, and medical devices should be utilized as part of the overall approach to pain management.

• Research is required to develop a better understanding of the mechanisms of pain, preventive measures, the use of innovative medical devices and medications to prevent the acute-to-chronic pain transition, and methods to improve outcomes of chronic pain conditions.

• Special populations are highlighted, including pediatric, women, older adults, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, active duty soldiers/veterans, sickle cell disease (as an example of a chronic relapsing condition).


Click HERE to Access the Full Report & Instructions to Submit Your Comments 

Comment on the Federal Docket by April 1, 2019

Instructions on Making Comments:

We highly recommend that you read the Report prior to constructing your response.

Written comments should not exceed three pages in length. To assist with the review of public comments, please indicate a specific section, gap and/or recommendation in the report for which the comments are related, for example, Acute Pain, Gap 2 or Recommendation 2a.

Comments that contain references to studies, research, and other empirical data that are not widely available should include copies of the referenced materials with the submitted comments.  Comments submitted by email should be machine-readable and should not be copy-protected. 

Responders are encouraged to include the name of the person or organization filing the comment, in case follow-up is needed, as well as a page number on each page of their submission(s).

How to Submit Comments:

1.  Submit through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: (PREFERRED METHOD)


2.  Email to:

3.  Snail Mail written comments to:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 736E,
Attn: Alicia Richmond Scott, Task Force Designated Federal Officer
Washington, DC 20201

If you have any questions or need assistance please contact us. 

Click Here For Instructions